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Can you catch up on missed sleep on the weekends?

Experts have always said that you can’t make up for sleep by sleeping on the weekends. But in 2018, a paper published in the “Journal of Sleep Research” questioned that conclusion, suggesting that sleeping on the weekends would cancel out at least some of the health risks associated with sleep deprivation.

On the other hand, a study published in the “Current Biology” agrees with previous beliefs on this topic. The study states that while sleeping on the weekends to make up for lost sleep might help you feel refreshed and ready for the coming week, it doesn’t help you make up for the sleep that was lost over the week.

An hour of sleep lost is equal to 4 days of sleep

Many people think of sleep like a bank account: Withdraw an hour on Monday, then deposit an extra one on Saturday to break even. But the equation is more complicated than that, says Dr. Cathy Goldstein, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center. “You might be getting some alertness benefits by sleeping longer on the weekends, but as far as truly making up for the lost sleep during the week, you really can’t make up for it hour by hour,” she says.

Studies have stated that a person would actually need four days of adequate rest to make up for even an hour of sleep debt. Since people get less sleep than they need throughout the week, it is almost mathematically impossible to close that gap over only two weekend nights.

Napping is better than sleeping in on the weekends

If you’re exhausted by the time Saturday arrives, you should opt for a midday nap rather than a sleep marathon throughout the night. The light exposure in the morning right after your sleep period is the most important factor to make sure your circadian clock stays in check. “If you need extra hours, a midday nap might be a better option,” says Goldstein. Previous research has linked naps to better memory, focus, and creativity. The US National Sleep Foundation says that just 20 minutes of daytime napping is enough to leave you feeling refreshed, as long as it’s not too close to your bedtime.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to get enough sleep during the week that you don’t need to catch up on the weekends. The quality of sleep matters very much, obviously, and that’s where we come in. Our vast range of mattresses has something that suits everyone’s taste. And you can rest assured that you’ve gotten the bang for your buck, regardless of the mattress that you choose to purchase. Even the busiest person should spare the time to sleep a little more each weeknight, since the payoff is worth it. “If you spend that extra time sleeping during the week, which is going to add up really dramatically, you’re going to save time because you’re going to perform more highly,” Goldstein says.

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